Maybod Morvarid: Traditional Iranian Porcelain

Craft & Design

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When I traveled to Iran last, I had a chance to visit Yazd, one of the oldest cities in the world. Outside of Yazd is Maybod, also very ancient. One of the noted handicrafts of this region is the traditional porcelain. And Maybod Morvarid (morvarid means pearl in Farsi) is one of the oldest crafters of porcelain in Iran. I was lucky enough to get a tour of their workshop, which is just behind their sweet storefront (pictured above).
Come take a journey with me across the globe to a historic land. I offer you Maybod Morvarid as a photo essay.

Porcelain is “a ceramic material made by heating raw materials, generally including clay in the form of kaolin, in a kiln to temperatures between 1,200 °C (2,192 °F) and 1,400 °C (2,552 °F).” Here are the big mixing vats at Morvarid and one of their kilns:

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The clay mixture is made, then it is poured into molds before it’s fired in the kiln. Here are a couple of the different molds they use:

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The molds, of course, are in two parts, and when each piece is done and the mold is pulled apart, it looks rough around the edges (like the picture at right). The fine gentleman pictured at right then scrapes each piece by hand to make it smooth. Everything at Morvarid is done by hand.

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The most fascinating part for me was when each piece is then hand-painted. There was a room in the workshop where the painters all worked. They started with stacks of finished, unpainted and unglazed porcelain:
The artisans would then lovingly paint each piece by hand. It was amazing how fast they would paint and how beautiful the end result was.

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The dishes that had lines on the perimeter were painted by this artisan, who put the dish on a wheel, put down his brush in one spot, and then spun the wheel to get the perfect line:
With stacks of dishes now bearing perfect rim lines, this next artisan would paint on embellishments.

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At another work station, the artisan on the left details a different plate design while the artisan at the right then dips each plate in glaze.

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There was certainly no shortage of eye candy at the Maybod Morvarid, and it was amazing to see these old-world artisans at work!

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

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